“And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” – Genesis 11:6
Recently, while reading God’s Word, I was intrigued by the sequence of events surrounding the building of a tower at Babel found in Genesis 11. These are early days of the history of our world according to the Scriptures, and yet the rebellion against God is already in a crisis state. The tower of Babel and the people here are not a good example to us, except for in one area – unity. God looks down on them from His lofty place and makes this assessment about a people that are unified – “…nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” While this is a negative contextually, I began to wonder what might happen if God’s people today decided to be as unified as these men thousands of years ago? Could we see revival in America? Could we see a return to biblical values that once upheld this great nation of ours? Could we fulfill the Great Commission and win the world to Christ? Could we erase the negative opinions the lost have formed of Christ and His followers after decades of seeing Christians conforming to the world? From the very lips of God Himself we discover that nothing is restrained from a group of people who are unified. I believe some very important lessons can be learned about unity from this Scripture passage.
- The strongest unity is normally formed among rebellious people
After God brought judgment upon the earth in the form of a flood, He commanded Noah and his family to repopulate and replenish the earth according to Genesis 9:7. God intended for people to scatter all over the globe and inhabit the areas He had created for them. We discover a resistance to this command of God:
“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” – Genesis 11:4
Some of the strongest examples of unity today are found when people unify against obeying God and His Word. For all of human history, cultures have understood that marriage is a covenant relationship between one man and one woman for life. In recent days, our culture has surrendered to a miniscule percentage of the population who have voiced their desire for marriage equality, and today, according to a ruling by the Supreme Court (Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015) two men or two women can legally marry. The law has been rewritten and same sex marriage is now an acceptable form of marriage in the United States of America. How did this come about? A group of people were unified against the law that was established by God. It is much easier to get a group of people to revolt against something than it is to get a group of people to unify for some other cause or purpose.
- Unified people get things done
“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name…and this they began to do…” – Genesis 11:4, 6
In 1995 I was a junior in high school. I remember on a November day learning that my beloved Cleveland Browns were playing their final season in Cleveland, Ohio and beginning in 1996 would take up Baltimore, Maryland, as their home. I remembered learning there was nothing that anyone could do to stop this from happening, and as a Browns fan from the time I was just a young child, I was devastated. I watched as our region’s political leaders led our community in an effort to “Save the Browns” which ultimately led to something unprecedented in NFL history prior to that – the team left but they could not take their name, history and records with them. Thus was born the Baltimore Ravens and three years later the rebirth of the Cleveland Browns. Why was this the outcome? Unity! The people of northeast Ohio were one and unified people get things done.
In our text they unified to avoid scattering all over the globe and to build a tower that reached to heaven; they even began to accomplish these goals until God stepped in. The list of accomplishments is long when a group of people are unified. Sometimes we might wonder why we can’t seem to move our culture toward Christ and biblical values. Is it possible it’s because we aren’t truly unified in this goal? We all agree that it would be nice to live in a world characterized by these things, but are we willing to unify together and pay the price necessary in order to accomplish this goal?
We have blame shifted every problem in our homes, churches and culture away from us. Could it be that we are where we are because of our lack of unity? Unified people get things done, and frankly Christianity has been largely ineffective the decades I have been saved. I must accept blame for this, as far too often I have had my own agenda, and resisted the unity that God would have us to share in reaching this world for Christ and living a life of holiness and consecration to Him.
- Nothing is impossible if a group of people are truly unified
If people get serious about unity, then God admits that “…nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” I’ve imagined a third Great Awakening in the United States of America. Others have imagined every language and people group having a copy of the Word of God. Some have imagined churches all over the Congo and other remote places across our globe. Others still have imagined an end to the holocaust of abortion. These might seem like impossibilities to us today, but when a group of people are unified nothing will be restrained from them.
May God grant His people unity today and beyond to live in obedience to His Word and to spread the message of the Gospel to our world! Members of Cleveland Baptist Church – let’s unify together to reach Northeast Ohio for the cause of Christ!